Subject: endangered whales

Phil Clapham (
Thu, 14 Jan 1999 06:34:44 -0500


There are two ways to answer your question.  First, most large whales
are on the Endangered Species list (minkes aren't, and eastern gray
whales were taken off a couple of years ago).  They were put there in
the early 70's.

But, are all whales on the list endangered?  The answer is no.  Some,
like the right whale, truly are - in fact the right whale is the most
critically endangered whale in the world, and one of the few that is
close to extinction.  Some others - like the humpback - really aren't
any more.  Although they had their population reduced by perhaps 90% by
whaling, they've made a terrific recovery in most places.  In the North
Atlantic, for example, a project we just did estimated that there are
10,000 humpbacks in this ocean alone.

Other endangered populations include: western gray whales (those on the
western side of the N Pacific, maybe 200-300 animals left but no one
knows); eastern Arctic bowheads (hundreds); northern right whales
everywhere (300 in the N Atlantic, a few hundred in the N Pacific, with
the eastern N Pacific population critically endangered due to illegal
Soviet whaling in the 1960's) and most blue whale populations (known
exception is California, which is doing very well).

Phil Clapham

Laurie Rabin wrote:
>     Are all whales endangered or are their specific whales on the endangered
> species list?  Please let me know which ones are endangered.  Thanks!
>         Sincerely,
>         Laurie Rabin (a fifth grade teacher in California)


Phillip J. Clapham, Ph.D.
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
166 Water Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543

tel (508) 495-2316
fax (508) 495-2066